NASCAR Returns to North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2023

Headlining NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season, the sport’s biggest stars will return to one of the original venues for stock car racing as part of a three-day weekend of motorsports entertainment, May 19-21, 2023. Recent NASCAR News Updates Included.

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Raleigh, NC — September 9, 2022

In an announcement that has been a long time coming and eagerly awaited by stock car racing fans, NASCAR has revealed that the Cup Series is returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway for its 2023 All-Star race.

North Wilkesboro Speedway prior to its current restoration / Lasco Press Photo

Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR announced that, as part of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season, the NASCAR All-Star Race will be held at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in 2023, capping off a three-day event weekend at one of stock car racing’s most storied venues, May 19-21, 2023.

“The NASCAR All-Star Race has always been the fans’ race, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the fans during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary than returning to North Wilkesboro Speedway,” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “We couldn’t have made this happen without tremendous support from so many people including Gov. Cooper, our state legislature, NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and of course, the people of Wilkes County. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got the will to create something special alongside a community and hard-working staff that will get it done.”

The announcement was made outside of the North Carolina Museum of History, with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., and NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell joining Smith for the program.

“Motorsports are critical to North Carolina’s history, culture, and economy, and our investments have helped to get the engines running again in places that needed revival,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “North Wilkesboro Speedway is back and better than ever, and the All-Star Race will take it to new heights.”

Funding the Project

In November of last year, an $18M allocation from federal American Rescue Plan funds was designated for infrastructure improvements at North Wilkesboro Speedway through the North Carolina state budget. Earlier this week, Wilkes County awarded construction contracts for the forthcoming work. The General Assembly has agreed in principle to provide a $4M economic grant next year toward additional facility improvements to host the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race and future special events.

Fans pack the speedway for a recent Late-Model race at the historic track / Photo Courtesy of NASCAR Media

“For decades, North Wilkesboro Speedway was at the heart of racing and tourism in Western North Carolina,” Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said. “We look forward to seeing the renaissance of this track as it transforms into a premier venue for races and events in Wilkes County.”

Wilkesboro History

North Wilkesboro, then a dirt track, hosted its first race in May of 1947. Over the next five decades, the 0.625-mile circuit hosted 93 NASCAR Cup Series races – its list of winners is a variable who’s who of NASCAR royalty, including Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, and hometown hero Benny Parsons. Next year, the 39th running of the NASCAR All-Star Race will mark the first Cup Series event at North Wilkesboro Speedway since 1996.

NASCAR Hall of Famer and noted motorsports historian Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been a passionate supporter of the revitalization of North Wilkesboro Speedway.

“Some of my best memories as a little boy were going to North Wilkesboro,” said Earnhardt. “And it got even better when I raced there as a teenager. I never thought I’d see that place full again, and then I got to race there this summer in a late model before a full house. There’s just something special about it. I know the track, the fans, and the community will put on a show when we’re back with the Cup cars for the All-Star race.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. attends a recent event at North Wilkesboro Speedway, signing autographs for fans. / Photo Courtesy of NASCAR Media

“North Wilkesboro Speedway boasts a winners list that features the true giants of our sport, and next year, another great will be added as the NASCAR Cup Series stars once again race at this historic facility,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief operating officer. “As part of our 75th anniversary season, we’re are excited to return to the roots of the sport for the NASCAR All-Star Race. This will be a can’t-miss event as we honor our past and look forward to the future.”

Complete schedules for on-track competition and fan entertainment will be announced at a later date, as will the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race format. Register for the “Join the Movement” email list and follow North Wilkesboro Speedway’s social channels to stay up-to-date on all the latest information. The NASCAR All-Star Race will be broadcast on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

Tickets

Three-day NASCAR All-Star Race weekend ticket packages will go on sale later this year. Fans can make a $25 donation to Speedway Children’s Charities starting today at noon to reserve a spot on the priority-to-buy list. All proceeds from the SCC Reserve List will serve children in need in Wilkes County. For more information or to “Join the Movement” e-mail list for the latest updates surrounding the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race, fans can visit www.northwilkesborospeedway.com.

Follow Along

For the latest news, schedules, and ticket information, visit www.northwilkesborospeedway.com.

Looking Back

The Lasco Press visited North Wilkesboro Speedway back in 2019 prior to the recent renovations to the historic facility. Step back with us and marvel at how the Speedway has been revived after years of inactivity.

Other NASCAR News

In a recent announcement from NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR and Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK), the world’s largest tool company and a leader in outdoor equipment, revealed that American tool icon CRAFTSMAN® will return as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Truck Series beginning in 2023. After serving as the series title sponsor from its inception in 1995 to 2008, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will make its homecoming at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2023.

Image Courtesy of NASCAR

In addition to the Truck Series title sponsorship, Stanley Black & Decker will further expand its presence in the sport, entering into a multi-year partnership designating the company and its iconic brands as the “Official Tools Partner of NASCAR” and “Official Tools” of all NASCAR-owned and operated tracks.

“We celebrate the return of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with our customers, distribution partners, and employees,” said Doug Redpath, President of Hand Tools, Accessories, and Storage for Stanley Black & Decker. “From proud homeowners and homebuilders to auto enthusiasts and master mechanics, CRAFTSMAN has been the brand generations have trusted to get the job done. The Truck Series represents authentic, bold, and proud drivers and fans, which embody the same characteristics of our CRAFTSMAN brand. We look forward to our return to Daytona in 2023 to reunite with our loyal fans as we begin this new chapter in NASCAR history.”

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series title sponsorship includes exclusive brand integrations on vehicles, crew uniforms, tracks, and more in addition to the branding of the Triple Truck Challenge and Championship Race entitlement. It will also serve as a platform to support the launch of new products, amplify seasonal promotions, and highlight the many ways CRAFTSMAN is building pride.

T. Taylor Warren Named 2023 Squier-Hall Award Recipient

T. Taylor Warren, whose famous photograph of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish helped determine the winner of the race, has been named the recipient of the 2023 Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. He is the first photojournalist to win the prestigious award named after Ken Squier and Barney Hall, the first two recipients.

Warren is the first photographer to receive the prestigious award.

Warren began photographing race cars at the Milwaukee Fairgrounds in 1948 and was hired by Bill France Sr. to photograph the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1952. He went on to become the track photographer at Daytona International Speedway, where he worked every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008.

“While T. Taylor Warren was best known for his photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, his photographs brought NASCAR to our fans for nearly six decades,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France. “Through his work for NASCAR, race tracks, and countless motorsports outlets, his images were often the only way for fans to see the action from the race track. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to NASCAR photography, no one was more prolific than T. Taylor.”

T. Taylor Warren’s famous photograph at the finish of the 1959 Daytona 500 / Photo Courtesy of NASCAR

In addition to his work for NASCAR and tracks, Warren shot photos for several racing magazines, most notably Southern MotoRacing

Warren has been honored with several prestigious awards. In 2006, he became the first photographer to win the International Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Henry T. McLemore Award for achievement in journalism. He posthumously won the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Award in 2008 for outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. He was also inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame in January 2009.

Warren will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Jan. 20, 2023, and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets to the Induction Weekend events are available at NASCARHall.com.

The other seven nominees for the award were:

  • Russ Catlin, one of the best-known early racing writers and historians; editor of Speed Age Magazine
  • George Cunningham, long-time beat writer for The Charlotte Observer, Atlanta Constitution, and NASCAR Scene; is the namesake for the annual NMPA award for Excellence in Writing
  • Shav Glick, covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast
  • Mike Harris, spent 30 years as the lead motorsports writer for the Associated Press
  • Bob Montgomery, co-founder, and announcer for the Universal Racing Network
  • Bob Moore, spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer
  • Deb Williams, the first woman to receive the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence.